Here’s What To Know Before You Look At This Month’s Total Lunar Eclipse

by Kaitlyn Wylde
VCG/Getty Images News/Getty Images

We all remember the hubbub surrounding summer 2017's total solar eclipse, which came with very strict guidelines regarding eye safety. The warnings were everywhere: don't look directly at the sun without eclipse glasses on, or you were risking going blind. The precautions were serious, and the dangers were grim, giving the whole experience of viewing the solar eclipse a sort of weird, anxious vibe. So likely, if you've heard about the Jan. 31 total lunar eclipse of the super blue blood moon, you're probably wondering about how to properly check it out — and, after all the warning during the total solar eclipse, wondering if it's safe to look at a total lunar eclipse with no eye protection. This is definitely a good question to ask, because a Super Blue Moon and a total lunar eclipse haven't overlapped in 152 years, so this event isn't one to miss. None of us were alive when this last happened!

The great news is: it's totally safe. There are literally no safety or instrumental requirements to view the moon's eclipse. The sun's light reflected on the moon's surface is not harmful to watch with the naked eye — it's only going to make the moon appear as if it has a reddish, copper-toned hue, hence it being called a "Blood Moon." So, mark your calendars for Jan. 31 — the total lunar eclipse will be visible and safe to view on Earth during the evening. No eclipse glasses, shoeboxes, or special eye protection goggles required.

How do you see it? Simply look up. (Well, if you're on the East Coast, you'll actually have to wake up first, because it's gonna be like 5 a.m. for you and I'm sure you'll already be in bed.) This total lunar eclipse is rising in the wee hours of the morning for most, and is set to be visible to the East Coast at 5:51 a.m. ET, before finally reaching its maximum eclipse state at 7:01 a.m. For the West Coast, that time becomes 2:51 a.m. PT, with a max at around 4 a.m. PT.

Even though it is occurring late, the total lunar eclipse is still a sight worth taking in — it hasn't occurred during a blue moon in 152 years, and another total lunar eclipse isn't going to occur for any moon until Jan. 2019. So, if you're up, you should definitely make it a point to try and see it.

So find a place with an open view of the sky — be it a clearing in a field, or a rooftop in a city — and get comfortable. Use this time to think about the year ahead. Check in with yourself and see where you are with your New Year's resolutions. Have you lost touch with them? Do they need adjusting? Would you like to add some more intentions to your year? Are you totally over everything you resolved to do and back to living your best life the way you always have? There are no wrong answers here, and starting your day with some intense self-reflection and mediation is never a bad thing. In fact, it's the best way to ensure you have a good day — and a good year. Make yourself a strong cup of coffee, bundle up, and watch the moon set and the sun rise —and be grateful to be able to experience a bit of a rare event. And then, maybe afterwards, go out and get an epic diner breakfast that you'd never normally have on a weekday before work, because you deserve it: You woke up real early.